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Fort Worth Botanic Garden, BRIT work together to identify invasive plants

Posted March 30, 2018

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flowers and plants in the Botanic Garden
Wisteria, while beautiful and fragrant in the spring when it’s in bloom, has been rated as a highly invasive plant species.

Invasive plants are quite the topic of conversation and concern among botanists and horticulturists across the country. So much so that through a 2017 Farm Bill grant, four botanic gardens across the nation participated in a trial to evaluate 200 plants for their invasiveness.

These gardens used a tool and database called PRE, which stands for Plant Risk Evaluator. PRE is a tool for determining a plant’s potential for becoming invasive in any specific region. The Fort Worth Botanic Garden and the Botanical Research Institute of Texas collaborated to evaluate 50 plant species in Texas.

At the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Zach Gomez worked with BRIT by using the PRE tool to predict or to confirm the invasiveness of certain plants in the botanic garden.

Invasive plants are nonnative plants that can spread on their own and can cause or are likely to cause environmental and/or economic harm. Many of these invaders were introduced decades ago as ornamental landscape plants or as plants that served a particular purpose, such as to control erosion, to conserve water or to grow quickly.

No one could have imagined the costly damage that invasive plants would cause and the threat they would be to native species. Today we know better because we understand the adverse impacts invasive plants can have on wild lands, waterways, native species and taxpayers’ wallets.

We also benefit from recent advances in plant screening technology that can predict plant behavior in a given region. The PRE tool allows for highly accurate (95 percent) predictions specifically tailored to horticultural plants. PRE is a 20-question, plant risk assessment tool as well as an online platform and database enabling those involved in nonnative, terrestrial plant production to know before they grow if a plant poses a potential regional invasive risk.

Visit the PRE website to explore the database already compiled on certain plants. Scores for trials conducted in 2017 are available.

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Metropolitan Area EMS Authority: 10 a.m. March 27, 2019; MedStar Mobile Healthcare, 2900 Alta Mere Drive, Fort Worth, Texas 76116.
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City Plan Commission Work Session: noon March 27, 2019; City Hall, Second Floor, City Council Conference Room 290, 200 Texas Street.
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City Plan Commission Public Hearing: 1:30 p.m. March 27, 2019; City Hall, Second Floor, City Council Chambers, 200 Texas Street.
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Park & Recreation Advisory Board: 4 p.m. March 27, 2019; Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Deborah Beggs Moncrief Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76107.
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Tarrant County Adult Education & Literacy Consortium Meeting: 9:30 a.m. March 28, 2019; Workforce Development Board Office, Large Conference Room, 1320 South University Drive, Suite 600.
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Water and Wastewater Capital Improvements Plan Citizens Advisory Committee: noon March 28, 2019; Fort Worth City Credit Union, 2309 Montgomery Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76107.
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Emergency Physicians Advisory Board: 12:30 p.m. March 28, 2019; TCMS Building, 3rd Floor, 555 Hemphill.
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Spring Fling at Greenbriar Community Center: 6 p.m. March 29, 2019; Greenbriar Community Center, 5200 Hemphill St.

Community Rummage Sale at Andrew Doc Session Community Center: 8 a.m. March 30, 2019; Andrew Doc Session Community Center, 201 S. Sylvania Ave.

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